California legislators yesterday moved to repeal much of a new program that allows the early release of county jail inmates, the Los Angeles Times reports. The state Senate voted unanimously to roll back the program after lawmakers expressed concerns about its possible effect on public safety. They cited news reports of a Sacramento man who was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape within hours of his early release.
The provision for county inmates was one of many sweeping changes that lawmakers approved last year to save money and address overcrowding. It was put in place as California, under pressure from federal courts to reduce its prison population, began sending to county jails and local reentry programs thousands of offenders who would normally go to state prisons. That created new overcrowding concerns for counties, so the legislature allowed counties to increase early release for many inmates. It allowed inmates to earn enough good-behavior credits to have their sentence reduced by half. Previously, credits earned could reduce sentences by a third. Now the Senate has voted to go back to the old system.